My younger sister called me today. She took Ma to worship this morning. I asked YS how it went. She told me it was fine, but that a lot of people died this week in my home area. One man had been fighting cancer for a good long while. We'd been praying for him. He was not an old man, but wasn't a young man, either. I still feel for his family and friends. We're social people, accustomed to physical interaction, or at least the possibility of physical interaction. When that ability is gone, we grieve. We grieve for the opportunities we've missed out on, as well as for the love that was shared. Cancer is a frightening and thieving thing. It tries to steal so much from so many people: Good health, joy, the ability to think, and a multitude of other things. I find it sad that so often people do lose so much to cancer. Near the end, so many people are in so much misery that they welcome death, and the nearness of God's promises in Christ Jesus. We miss our loved ones, but we can continue with hope, knowing and believing in the truth and love of our risen Savior.
The other three people who died this week were teenagers. Two were students of my old high school, and one went to a neighboring high school. It was a car accident that took their lives. From news accounts and what I've heard, four of them were in the car while the roads were still perilous from the recent snow the area had received. A drift on the pavement caused them to lose control, hit another vehicle, and end up in a ditch. I've not heard how the person(s) in the other vehicle faired. I just know that three of the four kids in the one car died and one is in critical condition. I write all of this with sorrow in my heart; for these kids and the lives they lost, for their parents and families who have to face the agony of losing flesh of their flesh, for the friends and peers who all too often do not realize the fragility of humanity-and when they do see it, they are not prepared to deal with it (as none of us really are), and for the community as a whole, who yet again are called to muster strength, compassion, and empathy for those who are hurting.
My community is not a stranger to losing teenagers because of car crashes. The whole wider area has lost approximately twenty teens in the past three years. Even numbers of my own friends have died because of car accidents; one even, was a very good friend. And it saddens me to think that all these kids are having to face the loss of not one, but two classmates, and another friend of theirs, all at the same time. That pain is just so difficult. My prayers and thoughts go out to this community that is so near to my heart. I ask that you might offer a few words as well. It is my prayer that God would give them the ability to be weak at a time when many expect them to be strong. There is no shame in grief. This is a hard thing to deal with; perhaps one of the hardest things-to lose a friend, classmate, or peer. Our God of all consolation is with them; cries with them; mourns with them. But with Christ, there is always hope. May we all embrace that hope in the situations of our lives-when we can; in our own time. Prayers and Peace.